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NEC Nijmegen closes stadium following stand collapse

Dutch Eredivisie football club NEC Nijmegen has closed its Goffertstadion home ground until further notice after a stand partially collapsed at the venue on Sunday.

Following NEC’s 1-0 home defeat against Vitesse Arnhem on Sunday, a small section of the stand caved in as the away fans celebrated their team’s victory.

No injuries were caused by the incident, which resulted in around 35 fans dropping a few feet as the stand buckled while they celebrated.

NEC has announced today (Tuesday) that the 12,500-seat stadium will close until further notice following discussions between the club, the Nijmegen Region Environment Agency (ODRN) and the municipality of Nijmegen.

The main building of the stadium will remain accessible but the stands will be closed while an investigation is carried out. NEC said in a statement that it is not known what caused the collapse, with the municipality having hired an external agency, Haskoning, to investigate the matter.

“We understand the choice of the municipality to close the stadium until further notice,” said club spokesman Nick van der Cammen. “It is important to us that thorough research is carried out, whereby the safety of everyone in the stadium must be guaranteed in the future. 

“At the same time, this decision means that we will continue to look for an external location to complete our matches – at least for the short term. The talks with other clubs and the KNVB (Dutch Football Association) have been going on since yesterday, because we were prepared for this.”

NEC’s next home match is against FC Groningen on October 31.

Haskoning was also hired to carry out an investigation after part of the roof collapsed at AFAS Stadion, home of Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar, in 2019. The incident, which occurred following strong winds, was not on a match day and did not result in any injuries.

AZ was forced to spend three months away from AFAS Stadion while repair work was carried out.

Image: Roger Veringmeier/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size